Tips to avoid online shopping scams

November 24, 2010

Raise your hand if you’ll be doing some online shopping over the next several days. Seriously, do it. I’ll wait.

If your hand is raised, you’re one of the millions of deal-hungry shoppers who will take to the World Wide Web to score deals on the latest and greatest gadgets, fashions and toys. But are you being careful while you shop?

The Birmingham News sat down with Gary Warner, University of Alabama at Birmingham cybercrime expert, to talk about avoiding these types of crimes during the holiday season.

“The criminals know what’s popular and they’ll set up bogus sites riddled with viruses,” Warner said. “Use shopping aggregator sites like, or stay with name-brand websites that you trust.”

He went on to say that “the greatest online security threat has nothing to do with the technology and everything to do with the person behind the keyboard.”

Warner suggests the following tips:

Make sure every piece of software on your computer is up to date. Whether it’s Windows, Internet Explorer or Firefox, make sure you have the latest version of the program. To make it easier, secure your settings so these updates happen automatically.

Don’t click on e-mail offers. Sometimes even the most legitimate-looking offers can be spam, linking users to malware or scam websites. Instead, go directly to the retailer’s site.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Users need to exercise caution and common sense when surfing the web, so if something looks shady or unprofessional, close out of that window and walk away.

Happy shopping!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Birmingham, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @dalecarnegieala.

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